By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood
Timeline Story

First Clothes: Proto-Clothing and the Advent of Garments

First Clothes: Proto-Clothing and the Advent of Garments

From Year 0 (BCE/CE): -600000
Post Date: 05/05/2024

Proto-clothing, encompassing basic garments such as animal skins and possibly decorative natural materials, likely emerged among hominins around 600,000 years ago, with Homo heidelbergensis being a probable early adopter. This species, experiencing diverse and often colder climates across Europe and Africa, may have utilized simple clothing as a practical response to environmental challenges.

Analysis: The evidence for early use of clothing, while direct only for Homo sapiens and Neanderthals around 100,000 years ago, can be inferred for earlier hominins through indirect markers. The Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of Neanderthals and modern humans, dating back approximately 600,000 years ago, introduces the possibility that simple forms of clothing might have been in use from this point forward. This assumption is based on the survival needs in varying climates and the sophistication of tool use seen in Homo heidelbergensis. Additionally, the emergence of Homo antecessor around 1.2 million years ago and the sophisticated behaviors observed in Homo erectus, suggest that the use of clothing could be reasonably extended back as far as 1.5 million years ago, albeit more speculatively. Conversely, earlier hominins such as Homo habilis, with their limited tool use and milder environmental conditions, likely did not develop clothing.

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